The Detroit Tigers have some work to do over the next two weeks if they want to reach the postseason.
If ace Justin Verlander pitches well, they have reason to be optimistic.
The right-hander looks to build on his last start and continue his recent success against the AL wild-card leading Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.
A day after falling three games behind the Central-leading White Sox with a frustrating 5-4 loss at Chicago, Detroit (78-69) bounced back with a 12-2 rout of Oakland on Tuesday.
The Tigers have won five of seven overall and 10 of 13 at home, but are still three back of the White Sox and have a larger deficit to overcome in the wild-card race."Our job is to win games," said slugger Miguel Cabrera , who homered twice and drove in six runs. "Hopefully we can get a good winning streak."
The Tigers might have dodged a blow even though right-hander Max Scherzer left after two innings because of a fatigued throwing shoulder. The team leader with 16 wins underwent an MRI that showed no structural damage.
Verlander (14-8, 2.82 ERA), meanwhile, has allowed one run, five hits and struck out 14 in 15 innings while winning his last two starts versus Oakland. That run came off a homer from Seth Smith on May 15 at Oakland, where he gave up one other hit and fanned eight in seven innings of a 3-1 win.
He is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA against the A's (84-63) at Comerica Park, where he hasn't faced them since 2010.
Verlander allowed six runs in six innings of a 6-1 loss at Los Angeles on Sept. 8, but scattered six hits in seven innings of a 4-0 win at Cleveland on Friday.
Cabrera is 13 for 26 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in his last six games. Leading the AL with a .333 average and 129 RBIs, he also has 40 homers and continues to flirt with becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967."That's a hard thing to do. You've got to be lucky," Cabrera said. "Hopefully we get lucky in our division and win more games."
Cabrera is 12 for 22 (.545) with those two homers and 13 RBIs in five games versus Oakland in 2012. He's 3 for 7 with a double against the A's Brett Anderson (4-1, 1.93), who hopes to rebound Wednesday from his worst start in five outings since returning from Tommy John surgery last month.
The left-hander allowed two earned runs in 26 innings to win his first four starts of 2012 before he allowed five in a six-run seventh inning of a 6-0 loss at Los Angeles on Thursday. Despite that rough frame, A's manager Bob Melvin continues to be pleased with Anderson's progress."I thought his stuff was as good as it was any of the other times he was out there," Melvin said. "He's continuing to pitch at a very high level and giving us a chance to win every single time."
Anderson is 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA against the Tigers, but has not faced them since May 29, 2010, when he allowed three hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-0 victory at Comerica Park.
Reddick is batting .455 (15 for 33) in nine games versus Detroit.
|September 05, 2012||Brandon McCarthy||Day-to-Day||Left game - head injury|
|September 02, 2012||Brandon Inge||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right shoulder|
|September 02, 2012||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|August 18, 2012||Jordan Norberto||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|August 12, 2012||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 12, 2012||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|September 18, 2012||Max Scherzer||Day-to-Day||Left game - right shoulder fatigue|
|September 16, 2012||Austin Jackson||Day-to-Day||Sore left ankle|
|September 11, 2012||Ryan Raburn||15-Day DL||Strained right quadriceps|
|August 23, 2012||Doug Fister||Day-to-Day||Tightness in right groin|
|August 23, 2012||Miguel Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right ankle soreness|
|August 01, 2012||Ryan Raburn||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
DETROIT (AP) -- Detroit manager Jim Leyland had his head on a swivel, looking at reporters when they asked a question one moment and glancing up toward the TV in his office with Kansas City leading Chicago when it got quiet.
"If I didn't have this on, I might as well go home," Leyland said.
The Tigers improved their chances of sticking around beyond the regular season when Miguel Cabrera homered, Omar Infante drove in three runs and Justin Verlander pitched six scoreless innings to help them beat the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Wednesday night.
The Royals later helped out with a 3-0 win over the White Sox that trimmed their lead to two games over Detroit in the AL Central with 14 games remaining.
The Tigers have won two straight over the A's - and 28 of their last 36 games at home.
"We played a couple good games against one of the hottest teams in all of baseball," Leyland said. "That's pretty good."
Oakland, clinging to an AL wild-card spot, has dropped three straight and might have had a costly loss on the mound because Brett Anderson (4-2) left the game after two-plus innings with a strained right oblique.
"He's getting an MRI right now," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "So, we won't know anything until he gets back."
Melvin plans to pitch Dan Strally in Anderson's spot in the rotation if he can't make his next start.
The A's forced Justin Verlander (15-8) to throw 122 pitches and that ended his night. He allowed five hits and three walks while striking out five.
"It was a grind," Verlander said.
Octavio Dotel struck out two in a perfect seventh. Joaquin Benoit had two strikeouts in the eighth. Jose Valverde closed the game in a non-save situation, entering with a six-run lead, and was booed after giving up two-out RBI singles to Cliff Pennington and Stephen Drew .
Detroit played some small ball to take a 3-0 lead in the third.
Andy Dirks and Gerald Laird started the inning with bunt singles and advanced on Austin Jackson 's groundout. Infante followed with a double down the left-field line to put the Tigers up 2-0.
"Those were two perfect bunts or they would have been outs," Melvin said.
Infante's groundout in the eighth inning gave the Tigers a six-run lead.
After walking Cabrera intentionally and giving Prince Fielder a free pass on four pitches to load the bases, Anderson was injured while pitching to Delmon Young . Anderson fell forward and landed awkwardly after throwing his 48th pitch. Oakland trainer Nick Paparesta and Melvin talked with Anderson briefly on the field before deciding to take him out of the game.
"We could see earlier in the inning that he was trying to stretch out his back, so I don't think the fall had anything to do with it," Melvin said. "We just checked him at that point and decided we didn't want to go any farther with him."
Right-hander Pat Neshek replaced Anderson and Young promptly hit a sacrifice fly to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta had an error in the fifth - snapping a 75-game errorless streak - but he helped turn a double play to end the inning. He chipped in at the plate in the home half, hitting an RBI single to put Detroit ahead 4-0.
Cabrera sent Jim Miller 's 94 mph high fastball on an 0-2 pitch over the fence in left field for his 41st home run and 130th RBI to bolster his shot at being baseball's first Triple Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski pulled off the feat in 1967.
"It's something that is a dream," Cabrera said. "But right now, I got to focus on trying to help us make the playoffs."
Verlander said it has been "unbelievable," to watch Cabrera this season.
"Obviously, he's got my support for MVP," the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young award winner. "He's one home run away from the Triple Crown, and that's a rarity in baseball, and that's a testament to how good of a player he is.
"Look at the ball he hit for a home run. We were talking about that, you just don't see that. You execute your pitch, 94 up at his chin, and he hits a home run.
NOTES: Tigers RHP Max Scherzer hopes to make his next scheduled start on Sunday at home against Minnesota. He left the series opener against Oakland after just two innings because of a fatigued right shoulder. "It wasn't sharp pain, it was weakness," he said. "I need a couple days of not throwing." ... A's OF Coco Crisp didn't play because of infections in both eyes and Melvin is hoping his contagious ailment doesn't spread. "He's got his own towels," Melvin said. ... Tigers C Alex Avila , still feeling the effects of colliding with Fielder on Sunday, didn't play and the team is hoping he'll return this weekend at home against the Twins. ... Peralta's 75-game scoreless streak was the longest by a position player for the Tigers in a season since at least 1957.